What is Speech Language Therapy

Speech-language therapy is much more than its name implies. Speech-language pathologists are specialized in everything that is covered by the term “communication.” This includes speech sounds, language, literacy, social communication, voice, fluency, cognitive issues such as memory, attention and thinking skills, and feeding and swallowing.

Patients with many different illnesses and conditions may be appropriate for speech-language therapy as part of their outpatient therapy. Speech therapy can be a core component of successful rehabilitation, helping patients return to regular activities. Conditions treated include:
  • Brain injuries
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Cancer treatment
  • Parkinson’s disease

When a patient is referred for outpatient therapy, they, along with caregivers and other family, will meet with the entire therapy team to devise a plan that focuses specifically on that patient’s goals for regain of function, or adaptation to a new level of function. Speech-language therapy is one component of that treatment plan, complementing physical and occupational therapy as well as any medical interventions or monitoring the patient is still undergoing. It’s a whole picture approach.

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What to Expect

Patients receiving outpatient therapy typically visit the clinic for a duration and frequency determined at the time of evaluation.

Treatment will be specific to the particular condition. For those with swallowing disorders, work may be focused on strengthening the muscles needed to swallow effectively. For those whose speech has been affected by something like a stroke, focus may be placed on articulation improvement. Patient and family education is always incorporated and each treatment plan is focused on the individual patient, their condition and their goals.

Who Delivers the Treatment?

Speech-language pathologists are trained and licensed healthcare providers who can diagnose and treat conditions that affect the ability to speak, understand language or swallow.

What’s Next?

If you have a patient or patients who you believe might benefit from speech-language therapy for a communication issue, whether it be speaking, articulating, expressing themselves or feeding and/or swallowing, call us to learn more.

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